September 30, 2020
Ensuring the Financial Wellness of Your Employees

An EA Expert Network Exclusive

By: Phyllis Gau, Senior Vice President, Wealth Management and Corporate Retirement Director for Morgan Stanley

As a Corporate Retirement Director, the most common issue that I hear from my businesses is how to attract and retain the most skilled employees. Besides the obvious benefits such as health, dental, vision and life insurance, employees want more.

I start by looking at these traditional benefits and identifying if the company is offering what prospective employees want. In the past, it was always about the retirement plan. But, things are changing quickly when it comes to retirement plans. Retirement plans can look very different across the board and may not offer employees an incentive to save, if not set up right.

New Idea to Consider: Student Loan Assistance

For some employees, paying off student loans is a higher priority to them instead of a 401k match that they can’t even get. In addition, if the employee wanted this contribution to pay down student loan debt, they could structure it so that the company could do this for them in a tax advantaged way. This has been a game-changer for attracting new talent.

Employees stress about their overall financial situation and want guidance on how to get them on the right track. Enhancing financial wellness enables your workforce to do their best work. A financial wellness program is a program that helps employees manage their finances and reduce financial worries.

The Link Between Employee Stress and Financial Wellness

“Three out of four employees with high stress says it distracts their work.”

Another important question I ask my clients is, “Are you offering some kind of financial wellness program”? 94% of business owners believe a health and wellness program is essential to attracting top talent. However, most aren’t offering a financial wellness program. It could be a differentiator for your business if you are trying to attract that key employee.

A good financial wellness program starts by engaging employees through a questionnaire. This way we can help the company meet the needs of all of their employees. Then, a customized, digital portal offers financial education (investment basics, life transitions, planning for education and retirement expenses) on an ongoing basis for employees.

You can also offer financial coaching and help them with budgeting, savings, and debit/credit management. Finally, employees are provided with a comprehensive financial plan to guide them to financial wellness.

Empowering Your Employees is Good Business

As a company you want to empower employees to take hold of their financial lives. These financial wellness programs are customizable and are a very comprehensive solution that empowers employees by making their finances a source of wellness rather than a source of stress.

By implementing a financial wellness program you will be able to help your employees better understand and maximize their company sponsored benefits and provide thoughtful guidance. By improving their financial wellness, your company can benefit from a more loyal and productive workforce.

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